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Best For Body & Soul (Part 1) - Seaside Pilates, Paradise Pilates, Country Pilates, City Yoga, Rustic Yoga

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Transform your shape and free your mind at these pilates and yoga destinations

Seaside Pilates

·         The Retreat

<Chiva-Som, Thailand, a luxe-meets holistic-detox resort.

Description: Chiva-Som, Thailand, a luxe-meets holistic-detox resort.

Chiva-Som, Thailand, a luxe-meets holistic-detox resort.

·         What’s Involved

Everything, from the minibar to the pillows, is tailored to you. The meals are low-cal but delicious, or you can follow a juice detox or nutrition plan. There’s a ‘m, personal trainers and a focus on yoga and pilates.

·         What To Wear

Light yoga gear (it’s rarely below 30°C), flip-flops and a Missoni kaftan will take you from pool to dinner.

·         My Timetable

A mix of private and “group” — there were never more than three of us - hour-long reformer pilates classes (using a resistance machine).

·         The Result

As a reformer pilates devotee, my expectations were surpassed with new equipment and moves — I came out with a more toned body than usual.

·         Would I Do It Again?

In a heartbeat, I came home a few pounds lighter, with gleaming skin and the start of a six pack (really).

·         The Crowd

Solo women, plus yummy mummies and couples.

·         What Else To Do

The spa treatments are world-class and there’s a huge range of therapies. I personally found inner peace lying by the pool sipping a coconut mocktail...

·         Don’t Miss

The health and wellness consultation: an analysis by doctors, naturopaths and physios, who found an explanation for the indigestion I’ve had for years. By Sarah Statman

Paradise Pilates

·         The Retreat

Como Shambhala Estate, Bali, a deluxe holistic spa in a jungle setting.

Description: Como Shambhala Estate, Bali, a deluxe holistic spa in a jungle setting.

Como Shambhala Estate, Bali, a deluxe holistic spa in a jungle setting.

·         What’s Involved

An ayurvedic consultation, five varied 60-minute activities a day, plus a buggy-driving personal assistant.

·         What To Wear

Nuala by Christy Turlington for day; Matthew Williamson for evening.

·         My Timetable

A perfect balance of activity and rest. My one-to-one class using pilates machines was the hardest/best I’ve ever done.

·         The Result

Four days and three hardcore massages in, my spine felt much more flexible and core strength dramatically improved.

·         Would I Do It Again?

I’m already saving for the next trip.

·         The Crowd

Blissful, thanks to the super-attentive staff and lush rainforest environs.

·         What Else To Do

Go active, from white-water rafting to volcano-biking, orbe spiritual and visit the local temples and healers.

·         Don’t Miss

The sunset over the jungle canopy: extraordinary. By Louise Sugrue

Country Pilates

·         The Retreat

Grayshott Spa Hotel, Surrey: think country house hotel, but with pilates (rather than pastry) on the menu.

Description: Grayshott Spa Hotel

Grayshott Spa Hotel

·         What’s Involved

Fitness classes — including power walks, yoga and t’ai chi — plus a spa and a yummy, low-calorie menu.

·         My Timetable

Three hour-long group classes and a one-to-one session over two days.

·         What To Wear

Adidas by Stella McCartney for classes and Isabel Marant jersey for dinner.

·         The Crowd

Low-key and pressure-free; no one will judge you for loafing around in your dressing gown all day.

·         The Result

A lot of ground was covered, from the basic principles of pilates and posture to some hardcore poses. I discovered muscles I never knew existed.

·         Would I Do T Again?

Like a shot. The result was immediate and the instruction was inspiring.

·         What Else To Do

Relax in the hydra-therapy pool, play tennis on one of the outside courts, or go for a ramble in the countryside. Plus there are daily film screenings.

·         Don’t Miss

Mocktail hour. My tipple was delicious and virtuous. By Lucy Pavia

City Yoga

  • The Retreat

Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, a luxe, health-focused resort.

Description: Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa

Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa

·         What’s Involved

A pre-trip consultation and a full timetable of yoga classes, from Basic Hatha to Power, plus stretch classes, beach walks, meditation, breathing sessions and health lectures.

·         My Timetable

Daily Advanced Power Yoga with a variety of teachers (each class is 75 minutes). Some indoors, others in the Ocean Studio with its Atlantic views.

·         What To Wear

Jeans and a smart top wouldn’t feel out of place. In classes, it’s yoga pants, vest tops and bare feet.

·         The Crowd

Wealthy; mostly older. Everyone was very friendly to a lone Englishwoman.

·         The Result

The yoga is efficient rather than spiritual. Still, all this exercise, plus delicious low-fat food, can’t help but be beneficial. And the spa is even better for one’s state of mind.

·         Would I Do It Again?

Hell, yes. The combo of space, sun, exercise on tap and freedom to do your own thing would make it the perfect place to write my second book.

·         What Else To Do

Shop in Bal harbour or head into Miami for not-so-low-fat Cuban food.

·         Don’t Miss

Energy Healing at the spa — it really was life-enhancing. And I’m a cynic. Or it least. J was...

Rustic Yoga

  • The Retreat

Monte Velho Eco Resort, Portugal, a 13-room retreat in a nature reserve.

Description: Monte Velho Eco Resort

Monte Velho Eco Resort

  • What’s Involved

Lots of yoga, for beginners and long time yogis, plus delicious communal meals (salads, fish, no meat).

  • My Timetable

Two classes a day. Our instructor Jean Hall charmingly tweaked me into poses I didn’t think I could manage.

  • What To Wear

The usual. Outside the yoga room, jeans if it’s chilly, shorts if it’s warm.

  • The Crowd

Fairly young (the oldest were early forties), friendly and dedicated.

  • The Result

I can now go from a wide-leg stretch straight into a headstand. I know yogas not about the clever moves, but...

  • Would I Do It Again?

Absolutely. I came back fitter, with new friends, plus I’d been free from meat, alcohol and caffeine.

  • What Else To Do

The village is a 45-minute walk away — its café has good gluten-free cakes.

  • Don’t Miss

An ayurvedic massage (bring cash). The room is basic, but the treatment is fantastic. By Nina Caplan

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